CAMPAIGNERS to rid the city of single-use plastic are celebrating after Worcester was awarded plastic free community status by marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS).
Worcester has joined a network of communities across the UK which are leading the way to tackle throw away plastic at its source.
More than 50 independent coffee shops have pledged to reduce single-use plastic and so too have large, flag-ship employers such as Fortis Living, the University of Worcester and the Heart of Worcestershire College.
Led by Kim Tanner, Plastic Free Worcester began last spring and it has since gone from strength to strength.
After registering with the SAS Plastic Free Communities movement, Kim, together with a growing core group of Worcester residents, pulled together key organisations and businesses in the town to put in place a five-point plan.
The objectives included setting up a community led steering group, instigating the SAS Plastic Free Schools education programme, getting local council commitment and working with local businesses, organisations and community groups to spread the word and minimise the amount of disposable plastics they use.
“Earning the Plastic Free Community Award is a loud and proud statement of intent for Worcester,” said Becky Howarth, one of Plastic Free Worcester’s steering group members.
“It means we expect Worcester businesses to anticipate and avoid single-use plastic in all their decision making and residents support and will encourage this plastic-free culture shift.
“Worcester City Council’s announcement they will end the purchase and use of ‘single-use plastic’ for any council related activity has to be the biggest milestone for me.
“As a consequence, we are now seeing joined up thinking from the council and action which stops single-use plastic at its source rather than waiting for it to fill up our bin bags,” she added.
Based in St Agnes in Cornwall, the marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage hopes to unite communities to tackle avoidable plastic from the beach, all the way back to the brands and businesses which create it.
Rachel Yates, SAS plastic free communities project officer, said: “It’s great to see the work Worcester has done to reduce the availability of avoidable plastics, raise awareness and encourage people to refill and reuse.”